The Netherlands Commercial Court: Now open!

Written on 2 Jan 2019

January 1st 2019 marked the opening of the Netherlands Commercial Court ('NCC') in Amsterdam. The NCC is specialized in the efficient resolution of complex international commercial disputes in English language. The NCC is designed to meet a growing demand from internationally operating companies to conduct proceedings in English language, whilst keeping the benefit of pragmatic and efficient Dutch procedural law. Watch the promotional video of the NCC:

Features

Jurisdiction of the NCC requires explicit agreement between parties. Parties will generally include a choice of forum clause in their agreements for this purpose, similar to how parties agree upon an arbitration clause. Note that due to the requirement of explicit agreement, a forum selection clause in the general terms and conditions will not be sufficient.

The NCC will be an interesting alternative to international arbitration or litigation before national or foreign courts. Benefits of the NCC include:

  • Fixed fees: Court fees are fixed, which increases transparency of the costs of NCC proceedings in advance. The court fees in the first instance are € 7,500 per party for summary proceedings and € 15,000 per party for main proceedings – significantly lower than arbitration fees in complex international commercial arbitration proceedings.
  • Short time frames: Dutch procedural law is touted for its efficiency, with short timeframes between different procedural steps ultimately leading to shorter and less costly proceedings.
  • English language: The proceedings are conducted in English language.
  • Specialist judges: Judges and staff of the NCC are selected from all courts in the Netherlands for their specialised expertise as well as their fluency in the English language. Matters will be judged by panels of three judges
  • Modern technology: The court may direct that audio or video recordings be made by or on behalf of the court. Video-conferencing is possible to allow people to attend hearings from all over the world. Electronic filing of documents and electronic communication will be the standard.

In addition to the NCC, a specialist chamber of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal, the Netherlands Commercial Court of Appeal, will be set up to hear appeals. Court fees in appeal are fixed at € 10,000 per party for summary proceedings and € 20,000 per party for main proceedings.

Enforcing an NCC judgment

NCC judgments fall under the same regime for enforcement as other Dutch judgments. This means that NCC judgments are enforceable in the Netherlands and in the European Union without requiring any declaration of enforceability, which facilitates swift enforcement in the Netherlands and throughout European Union.

International conventions to which the Netherlands is party as well as general international private law govern enforcement of NCC judgments outside the European Union.

If you would like to learn more about the NCC and how it can benefit your business, feel free to contact our litigation team in the Netherlands.